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LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE CHINA?

LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE CHINA?

 

Don C. Marler

 

The major defining feature of Conservatism is its affinity for preserving the old beliefs, practices, values, worldview and philosophy of life. The term “old” as used here refers to those beliefs, values, etc. that were present in the culture in which we are born and includes beliefs of the founders of the USA, family values, traditions, religion, cultural mores and taboos as well as lifestyles. Conservatives fight hard to protect the status quo and they perceive change as a threat to their way of life. They believe the old ways brought us to where we are now and feel threatened and frightened at the prospect of giving up that heritage.  This is the state of mind of the “Hard Right” Conservative.

 

“Hard Left” Liberalism is the polar opposite of Hard Right Conservatism. There are many who lie in between these two extremes, but it may be helpful to draw an extreme contrast in order to see the differences more clearly. Conservatism and Liberalism as used here is in no way confined to any particular political party.

 

Being the polar opposite of Conservatives suggests that Liberals welcome change, are more tolerant of differences of opinion, practices, beliefs, values and way of life. They perceive the old ways as having brought them to the present and as being instructive for moving into the future. The old ways are, for Liberals, helpful primarily when melded to the circumstances of the present. The old ways need to be examined for relevance to current reality, knowledge and situations and retained when they serve the needs of perceived current and future reality. Liberals believe that the old way is best viewed as an evolving and modern tool for progress rather than as an anchor holding us in a fixed position regardless of the circumstances.

 

Illustrations and examples of these differences from our own culture are likely to evoke feelings that hinder objective thinking; therefore, it may be enlightening and perhaps would foster objective thinking if we took our examples from a foreign culture. Toward this end let us ask the following question.

 

Knowing that China is changing, would I prefer to see it develop as more Conservative or Liberal ?

 

China is dictatorial, contemptuous or indifferent to the plight of its common citizens, demeans women, violates international laws, steals intellectual property such as patents. It is militarily aggressive, secretive, imposes self-isolation, and maintains a hostile worldview. The old way has brought China to where it is today as described above.  China is an ancient society with a lot of traditional baggage. How long can it continue to exercise its ancient ways?

 

It is evident that China is reluctantly beginning to move toward a more liberal stance, though it has a long way to go. It is still a dictator run nation that is indifferent to its common people, demeans women, while it continues to steal property rights from other nations. It is still hostile toward much of the world outside its borders and is isolated by choice from much of that world, but less so than in the past. Future change will no doubt be slow, halting, reluctant and with great sacrifice on the part of the common citizen.

 

The United States of America, on the other hand, has its own powerful Hard Right forces that are trying to move the country in the direction China is moving away from. That is, toward indifference toward the masses, toward demeaning women, toward more corruption in industry and government, toward hostility and war with the world outside its borders.

 

When viewed in this light, returning to the old ways presents frightening implications for our future.

 

The reader will no doubt draw his/her own parallels between Conservative or Liberal China and Conservative or Liberal America. The purpose here is an attempt to provide a relatively emotion free framework for making those comparisons.

 

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Rational Discussion of Gun Control

Laying aside for now the question of the constitutionality of gun control, let’s consider the matter from a different perspective else we may end up with unintended consequences.

There can be little doubt that at the basis of the gun control issue are deep-seated beliefs and feelings on both sides but especially among those who oppose it. Here, I will focus mainly on those who oppose it.

Ownership of guns or the potential for ownership is, to many, a reassurance when vulnerability is felt or otherwise perceived. This vulnerability ranges from personal threat from the large criminal element fed by drug abusers to fear of an overreaching government.  None of the above is new.

What needs to be considered is the possible consequences of denying gun ownership and freedom to carry one. A very likely consequence is that loss of the rights associated with gun possession will intensify the already acute beliefs and feelings of a large portion of the populace.  The intent of those who take arms against public officials, as we saw in Tuscan, is to kill and be killed. The gun is just a convenient choice of means; it has no part in the motivation.  Does anyone really believe that removing the gun will remove the urge, intent or determination to kill? The gun is not even a symptom of the problem and treating it will accomplish nothing but sweep under the rug that which needs to be acknowledged. The likely consequence of shutting off gun access will be to cause the unstable to escalate to the next level; use of fire, poison, cars, bombs. Even knives, being silent, could do untold damage before the majority of a crowd knew what was happening.

We have ample evidence of what bombs and planes can do in the hands of those who are willing to die to avenge a perceived wrong or advance a cherished belief. These bombs are cheaper than guns and can be made from products found in most homes. What will we ban to stop that? In this sense gun ownership may be a safety valve checking the use of more destructive means. Do we need a demonstration to convince us that an automobile driven at high speed into a crowd would not be a pleasant event?

Tampering with gun ownership will inflame an already inflamed situation and likely will be no more effective than prohibition was in eliminating moonshine consumption back in our earlier past. A determined person will never have significant difficulty getting a gun illegally if not legally. Furthermore, when the ease and efficacy of bombs are fully realized and when they become a greater attention getter the gun may lose its favored status.

It is chilling to contemplate what would have been the result if the Columbine School incident had involved bombs rather than guns.

Could it be that it is time to address the causes of violent actions rather than the tools used to carry them out?  The presence of an ax had nothing to do with Lizzie’s decision to give her father 40 whacks.

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